Poetry & Prose 2016

Afloat in the Great Love

Afloat in the Great Love

for All that Exists

the Master stares at me 

with delight 

and puzzled curiosity

while I shrink and babble

trying to explain

why I am here

cowering in his joyful blaze...

I would kill myself

if I weren’t the center 

of the world

All the while 

he gazes 

at my confusion


at something inside me

I cannot see

All the Rivers


I’ve tried and tried to stop worrying – it is, after all, unpleasant to imagine the worst. The truth is, though, I’m attached to worrying – I believe it can somehow protect me. So the other day I decided to just let myself self worry.

And that’s when something else occurred to me: maybe that worry feeling doesn’t have to stop me from having other feelings – good feelings. 

Maybe I can allow my little worry to sit in its corner, fulfilling its mysterious purpose, and still immerse myself in the Sweetness of life, still feel the Sacred inside me and around me, still feel gratitude, love, devotion… 

Maybe I can stop looking for the miracle whitewash, and just let things be the way they are: good, bad, hot, cold, fearful, optimistic, black and white and all the messy colors of life on earth. 

Maybe, as Silo says, if day and night, summer and winter are fine with me, I’ve overcome the contradictions…

All the rivers pouring together into the sea.


Angelic giant

for Walt

Angelic giant


from under a dead leaf

my lover

besotted fool

enters my bower

with a bow and a wink

and in a peal

of delirium


my castle walls.

He pays me

in the coin of kindness

and shudders me open

with the kiss of the Lord


he won’t fit

between the pages

of any book

but titillates

my sleeping child

a blossom suspended

over a green field

and cries out in surprise

at the enormity

of the vast morning

that welcomes him home.


Dear child

Dear child, servant of life,

here with you by the fire 

wrapped in your buffalo hide

as you sleep on my shoulder

I am in heaven

my heart ablaze

with a soft delight

And tomorrow

when you fly back

into your wild and shining life

crossing the miles of highway

and mountains upon mountains

and chasms black

with night and stars

then I will be lost 

in sweetest grief

and wonder

always cherishing you



Letting go

I fall

And fall

And fall


And twirling

And at peace


And falling

And falling


And spinning

In sweet


I twirl


And down

And down


The luminous



for my friend SK


You call me up

to ask about the ratio

of beans to water

and when i don’t know

having always used


you tell me

how grateful 

you are

for Life.

Life has brought you

not only joy

but also sorrows

that left you shattered

and bereft -

yet your grief flows 

in a canyon

full of flowers.


as you consider the bathing

of the beans

you tell me

how grateful you are

for Everything

God has given you:

for the amaryllis 

blooming on your patio,

for the filthy man

with his cardboard sign

whom you embraced

to the horror

of your fainthearted friend,

for animals 

and the wonders

of their lives

revealed on TV.

Over and over

your voice breaking

under the weight

of your love

you pound it into me:

Do you realize

that God has given you


Do you hear?


Has given you



And I listen

and try my hardest

and maybe 

I will never 

fully grasp this truth 

but I’m so grateful 

you do

and i hope you will keep

translating for me

until the end of time.



are private.

If someone catches you

Looking at them

And your two sets

Of eyes


For an instant

You both

have to look away

And pretend 

It was a mistake.

But if you ever

Are able to look

And be looked at

In return -

Oh, such 

Unbearable beauty!


Love Poem


Two leaves 

Grew side by side

On a branch

And when 

Their summer ended

They fell

One after the other

Into the river below

And began their journey

Toward the sea.

Carried on the gentle depths 

Now together, now apart

Each executed the movements

Granted by the current

In her languid flow.

And when

Once in a while

They chanced to swirl together

They would converse 

Of the beauty of the river

And the greatness of the sea

And the wonder of water

And of atoms and molecules 

And the empty space 

In between.

Love Poem to a River 



The water flows

Carrying the silence

That is inside the world


On the surface

Leaf and needle swirl

Now together

Now apart


Borne on 

Bell-clear depths

Empty and full

As my heart


Only after nearly driving myself crazy

With pointless fears

Did I discover 

That I could drive myself sane

By learning to play the piano

Fingers stumbling

Mind at peace

No big deal

Silo said 

Dying is no big deal -

It’s just like going to sleep.

Every night we disappear

and we’re not afraid then

because we always come back.

So why be so worried about death? 

It’s just disappearing

And coming back

In a new place.


It is in 

the volcano of light

behind our eyes

that we 

along with everything else

are reborn

The arc of my body

The arc of my body 

Is limpid 


And full of light

In me float all things 

Love weaving form

Out of light

Day embraces the sun

With a lover’s arms

And a smile

As wide as the sky

And the river of life


Full of peace


poetry tells me what I need to know.


a poem has to cook a while.

I only write them when they are done.

sometimes i write to convince myself

the straw that breaks the back of doubt

I can only sleep

after the wind of my mind dies

and my sails lie slack

poetry is my boat

i go where i want

and then i rest.


poetry drops my anchor

so i can say hello to you

here in home port

but i only need to drop these words

that sink into the ocean floor

the rest is offal,

scraps for the birds

i throw it overboard 

and the gulls snatch it up

poems are

alchemical reminders

symbolic instructions

to myself




oh god

help me relax

my rigor mortis grip

on reality 


help me 

roll with the punches


help me sense

the air moving

around the disaster 

so I can slip aside

at the last moment

and let it pass

without harm


then help me turn

catch it by the heel

and flip it 

on its head


River after Drought


Bursting with the exuberance of Being

Unable to hide any longer

The child El Niño comes running 

Out of the closet

Here I Am!!

And in the blink of a cloud

The trickle has leapt to a flood 

And the coyotes are singing 

On the banks of a mighty River

Weird voices caught in a moonbeam

The Dark

The Dark 

Was lurking

Just behind my heart

Wanting in.

So long ago I’d locked her out 

Afraid of her icy touch

And the agony of her fear

I kept her out

In the cold

Behind my heart


Until at last

Her knocking

Boomed so loud

In my fragile brain

That I stepped out a moment

Into the rain 

Of memories

To tell her to shush

And take a nap somewhere

Under a bush 


But instead of a nightmare

I found someone helpless

Tender and

In need 

Of tenderness.

Then, feeling a fool

Come in, it’s warm inside

I said.

Join me, even share

My bed.


Which is what she did

And now she keeps my house

Free of moths and dust

And dirty pots

A sensible and sensitive lass

She will never leave 

For she has my good

At heart

Tucked up her long

Dark sleeve.

The Endless Hotel

I was trying to be happy by keeping the bad stuff out, by telling myself only good stories about myself – stories with my favorite people, in the sweetest circumstances, with the luckiest turn of events. Stories with no disease, no accidents, and no death. 

I knew it wasn’t working. Even if bad stuff didn’t happen, I knew it could. Abominations could happen - the  kind of thing that only is supposed to happen to other people could happen to me and my loved ones, and nothing I could do would stop it. 

In fact, the more I tried to keep the bad stuff out, the worse it got, till the bad news was pounding on my basement door, trying to force the windows.

And on top of that, it was making me miss the good stuff. I thought I'd be safe if I shut my eyes and stoppered up my ears and hid in my cellar - but I couldn’t see the sun, or hear the birds, or feel the breeze. I couldn’t look in a loved one’s eyes or feel their touch.

Finally I opened the window, just a crack. And the light came in, and the shadows. The shadows were gloomy, but the light was delicious, and warm…

So I opened the door, and then all the windows, and started to let everything in. 

That was when I realized how much room there is in here. It looks like this hotel has endless capacity – not just for the wealthy, or the clean and sober, or people with the right skin tone or the right beliefs. There’s room for everybody in here – all species, and all kinds of individuals – moral and immoral, fortunate and destitute, bag ladies and abandoned children on drugs, monsters, and serial killers, and dictators, and stupid people and geniuses. And not only all kinds of people, but all kinds of events – horrible misfortunes, crazy accidents that spare only the mother, and strokes of wonderful luck, true love and betrayal, exquisite meals and food poisoning. 

I’m letting them all in, not because it’s fair – it isn’t.

I’m letting them in because it’s Life. All one package.

So we’re opening our doors – opening them wide, and building a new wing, and building up, up, up, toward the Heavens – and down, down, down, into the earth, into the caves where there are dragons, into the clockwork that makes the earth turn. 


The Moment

All day in the shifting drug-under tangle 

of gloom and dire possibilities until –



the Moment appears

soft and entire under my nose

Unspoken loves


Maybe all of you

Are my deepest love


Until somehow 


In a dream

We touch.

Then for years, decades, eons

Maybe we say nothing

But only treat each other

With special kindness


Like a treasure

Held close to the heart

Taking care

Not to break 


Afraid to destroy

With existence

What so clearly





Untamable, vast and lush

the World lives inside me 

and around me

unfolding its endless

multi-dimensional epic

of disaster and delight

mystery and tragedy

and overarching peace –

and I want to live out my days

perusing a little book of phrases

for everlasting happiness

in a little room

without windows

where the constellations

are one cut-out paper star

pasted on the ceiling.